Employee wellbeing and workforce productivity go hand-in hand – when employees are well looked after, their output increases. It’s important, therefore, that employers understand how they can gauge wellbeing and what they can do to improve it. Ultimately, it affects their bottom line.
The government’s 2014 report ‘Does worker wellbeing affect workplace performance?’ examines these issues. It identifies, among other things, factors relating to roles, communication and job career prospects as impacting the wellbeing of employees and, in turn, the productivity of companies.
Naturally, the work that comprises an employee’s role shapes their feelings about it. In addition, though, the government report notes that the variety of work involved can also impact wellbeing. Too little variety can result in boredom, while too much can result in a lack of focus. What constitutes the right amount of variety, of course, depends very much on the individual employee.
Away from the tasks that an employee carries out, the autonomy and responsibility given to employees are also important factors. These can indicate a level of trust from an employer and so too little of either can be damaging.
It’s important for employees to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and for them to be able to discuss any issues or raise queries. For this, good means of communicating info, such as a thorough induction process, and open lines of communication are key. In a related area, supportive supervision should ensure that managers have good oversight of employees and can offer training and guidance where required.
In a more informal sense, wellbeing is impacted by the amount of interpersonal contact they have in a workplace. In short, this means being able to chat with others. These might be colleagues, clients or suppliers, but humans are social animals and the opportunity to converse or share a joke can have a positive effect on our mood.
An employee’s job prospects can also impact mood and, therefore, wellbeing. That doesn’t just mean the opportunity for promotion, but extends to the opportunity for professional development and even as far as simply the perception of working for an employer that is fair and even-handed.